I'd planned to write an amusing travel story for my second guest post, all about the funny things that happened while vacationing with my kids when they were young. There had to be a ton of material I could mine out of those pleasant times, I thought. Then memories of those road trips bored into my brain.
Take, for example, this typical fun-filled backseat dialog between the two siblettes:
“I hate you.”
“I hate you more.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, at least I'm not adopted.”
“I'm not 'dopted neither. I'm bornded.”
“Nuh-uh. We got you from the Shelter. You were in a cage.”
Lower lip begins quivering.
“Was too. They took you 'cause they felt sorry for you. You were so ugly nobody else wanted you.”
Much wailing and copious tears.
Obviously, these memories are too painful for me to write about. But since I already mentioned shelters and adoptions, I guess I'll write instead about Matilda, the dog Hunny and I adopted a few weeks ago.
The first thing you have to know is that Hunny's been whining about wanting a dog for some time. The second thing you have to understand is that Hunny is insane. I'm not going to dwell on it here, but anyone who has an unnatural hatred of crickets and who keeps the garbage in the refrigerator is not normal, you know?
Anyhow, Hunny has a way of grabbing an issue by the neck and shaking it until I eventually give in to her demands. Still, I tried to get me a few man points by telling her I'd agree to a dog but only if we got a male.
”I don't want a male,” Hunny said. “I don't like the way they pee.”
It occurred to me they probably wouldn't much like the way she pees either, but it didn't seem like a good idea to mention it, and I let it go.
So on April 1st I found myself in the lobby of the Humane Society. After Hunny made me pretend to admire every other cat in the shelter's Kittyville, I'd inhaled enough cat dander to send the allergies above Code Red. I quickly exited the building and parked myself on a bench outside, gasping dander-free air and wondering what I'd gotten myself into.
As it turns out, what I'd gotten myself into was a two year old Australian Shepherd.
Understand, the dog is fine. But Hunny isn't, remember? That's why we now have a $250 dog bed, three leashes, three collars (different colors for different days), five kinds of scientifically formulated treats, enough dog toys to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a bag of kibble big enough to feed a kennel full of starving Mastiffs for the better part of a month. And this food? It's not Alpo, no. It's some specially prepared combination of kelp, krill and squid, supplemented with mandrake shavings, ginseng froth, beta keratin and cod kidneys. At least it must be considering what it costs. Bottom line? As of today we're about $750 into supplies for a five dollar dog. It ain't right, I tell you.
I have a feeling that "Hunny and the Dog" is going to be an ongoing story. So, stay tuned for updates. And pray for me. Or send money. Both would be good.
Steve Barber is secure enough in his sexuality that he doesn't mind being called an Erma at all, but he does wonder if his writing makes his butt look fat. Check out his hardly-ever-updated blog at http://whatdoyoumeanishouldstartablog.blogspot.com/, and look for his short story, "Arkie Studabaker's Very Bad Day" in the soon-to-be-published anthology, No Rest for the Wicked (Rainstorm Press)